You know I never wanted to become that person that says “There comes a point in life when…” because I heard so many adults say that when I was younger. It was a sure sign that they were old and I was young.

The ….’s at the end of the sentence above are space for one or more of the following:

-music is too loud

-you want to sit down at a concert

-your breasts have stretched to your belly button

– you’d rather stay in than have a night out

– you just don’t want to have sex any more

– policemen start looking too young

Recently I was listening to the radio and a well known rapper was talking about what older people would say in response to his music. He said that people would quite openly tell him that they didn’t like his work or that they thought it was rubbish. Hearing him speak he really did sound like an offended youth, thinking that people who didn’t like his music were simply out of touch with reality.

The interviewer asked him how he coped with that and he replied that in the past he used to become quite upset by people’s comments. Sometimes getting defensive and fighting back against their unsolicited feedback. This can’t be an easy thing to do, as there is a sort of in built rule that even though those older than you can be wrong, you still should respect their wrongness. That there is something about your granny saying “This isn’t bloody music, it’s just a lot of talking and shouting” that makes her right despite the fact that you might secretly enjoy a bit of Eminem.

Then he said he changed his approach to the people who told him they didn’t like his work. Instead of getting offended by it, he asked himself “Would this feedback mean as much to me if it were being said by a 4 year old?”

Of course the answer was “No!”

If a 4 year old child walked up to you and said “Your work is rubbish and I don’t like your hair” your response would probably be to say go away and think what a rude and silly child have silly moment. You would forget about it very quickly and take their comments with a pinch of salt.

You could take any offensive comment and hear/see/experience in your mind a little 4 year old saying the bad words your boss/partner/mum/whoever said. Maybe you can image it is a little 4 year old them saying it. I bet you’ll end up reacting very very differently to them!

And I wonder then, what would happen if you only ever became offended like a 4 year old. This would I believe involve saying “Well I don’t care!” Then you need to stamp you foot, march and and very quickly get distracted by an aeroplane in the sky, or do a dance or draw a picture and instantly forget about what was said and get on with doing something else instead.

By Gemma Bailey